The following set of articles are part of a series titled, “Helpful Hints from the Field”
These short, thought provoking articles were written to help new sales people get a
start and to encourage the selling veteran to remember the basics.
These have intentionally been kept short to serve as a quick read for your morning
routine or as discussion starters in sales meetings and are not intended to be
exhaustive on any topic. They are written from the perspective of the wireless
industry but could easily be applied to many industries, products and services as the
concepts are generally applicable. Some technique adjustments would be needed
depending on B2B, Corporate or Government sales.
What sets these articles apart is that they are written from the perspective of a
selling professional currently in the field selling, who is writing to other selling
professionals doing the same thing. In this way, it is felt that the reader is more open
to take in new ideas or encouraged to stay close to selling basics from a peer as
opposed to ideas presented in a controlled classroom setting format.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced without prior written permission of
John Matovich. Requests for information should be addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Matovich is an innovative entrepreneurial sales executive and marketing leader with
advanced skills in strategic & channel sales, solution selling and government & commercial
sales. He is a highly motivating, inspiring and energetic speaker, leader, team builder, and
visionary. As a proven national sales award winner in multiple years in multiple positions in
multiple companies, John has built and mentored numerous sales teams across the country to
annually overdrive expectations year over year.
John’s strengths include developing raw talent to reach their potential by successfully
promoting and implementing a creative consultative customer focused sales approach. He is a
gifted sales coach and mentor for top performing sales teams as well as struggling sales
professionals and start up teams. A creative and accomplished individual, with the ability to
simplify, communicate and market common sense ideas up and down the organization to grow
Mr. Matovich has been in the sales profession / people development profession for over 20
years and holds a Business Degree with an emphasis in Management from Elmhurst College .
Helpful hints from the field
Build Respect with Opening Questions
By John Matovich
Are you sometimes frustrated trying to in the first place. Besides, I already
encourage prospects to share their knew why they accepted the
business challenges? In wireless sales, appointment. Well, I was wrong.
are you frustrated with prospects who Actually, we rarely know why a
only want to review your handsets and prospect accepts our appointment
voice rate plan sheets? unless we ask.
It is possible you are not building If you are like me, the answers will
mutual respect with the prospect from surprise you. A common response I
the start. have received is, “Funny you should
ask; we are having a problem with
Leading a prospect to trust or respect ______ and your call led me to think
you for your knowledge from the start you may be able to help us with this
is not as difficult as it may seem. First issue.” Wow. Right off the bat, you
impressions of how you open the first have already uncovered an issue.
meeting will set the stage for early Here, the inexperienced rep jumps to
success in the business relationship. show the products or services that
Having a few standard address the issue. The
questions you always use
can help the prospect
First impressions of professional rep holds
back and asks more
gain respect for your how you open the questions.
professionalism. It can meeting will set
also help you be more I cannot remember a
the stage for early
relaxed and build client responding in a
confidence in their mind. success in the negative way to this
This can lead to the business question. It is either a
prospect opening up early relationship. neutral response or more
with valuable information. often, a positive response.
I have two stock opening questions I Question #2 What are your
have used successfully for years to set expectations for this meeting?
the stage and comfortably open the
call. I have used these questions in A common response is, “We would like
small companies as well as very large to see your newest handset and review
ones. These work equally well in one- the latest price plans.” These are both
on-one meetings or in larger group good topics to cover with a prospect,
calls. I encourage you to write these but should not be the first items on a
down and give them a try in your next “first call” agenda.
five sales calls.
This brings us to the reason for the
Question #1 Before we get started, second question. Soon you are going
I would like to ask, why did you to present either a verbal or written
accept this appointment? agenda for the meeting. This question
is a way for you to check and make
The first time I was told to use this sure the client has some input into the
question my thoughts were, “This will agenda. Their answer here is very
make me look clueless.” After all; I important.
was the one who set the appointment
The prospect has approached this have your permission to move
meeting with an idea of what they will forward?
receive if they meet with you. If they
do not get what they are looking for, This sets the stage. It sends the
are you going back for a second message you are in control of the
meeting…? Doubtful. Take notes and meeting and you have a direction for
make sure you address their the call. It says you are a professional
expectation at some point before you and do not wish to waste anyone’s
end the meeting. time. Most people will let you control
the meeting for at least a few minutes
A word of caution: the inexperienced to see if there is value in your
rep, by asking this question, will let direction.
the prospect dictate the full agenda
thinking they are giving them what When professionally and graciously
they want. The professional rep will presented, this type of positioning is
stay focused, stick with his/her extremely effective at building rapport
opening plan and fit the request into and winning the prospect’s early
the meeting where appropriate. The respect. This sets you apart from the
client wants to see what you have to start. You can bet that other
offer. First, sell them on the idea you communications reps are not
can offer professional consultation positioning themselves and their
coupled with usable ideas. Then make companies as strongly.
suggestions for products and services
Sometimes, these questions can work
for their business.
so well that the meeting can take off
First, sell yourself, and then sell your much faster than you may like. You
products. Be graciously strong and need to develop a patient ear and
stay the course. Providing valuable really listen to their replies. I had one
consulting builds respect. rep come back and tell me that by the
second opening question, the prospect
At this point, you are armed with both was giving so much information he
your goals for this meeting (yes, you could not write fast enough. Does this
must have goals) and the prospect’s work all of the time? No. However, it
goals. You have an opportunity at this doesn’t need to work all of the time for
moment to take full control of the you to make a great living in sales.
early business relationship. You will
never have as easy an opportunity Remember, the two opening questions
again to build rapport and respect as are the setup. The verbal or written
quickly so seize the moment. You need agenda is the pivot point and your
to turn the corner by confidently professionalism will move the process
presenting your agenda and it sounds forward. I am confident this will go a
something like this: long way to building early respect in
the mind of the prospect.
Thank you for sharing your
expectation. Allow me to share an In a future article, I will present the
agenda. First, I would like to take two points you need to cover when
minutes and present to you a few introducing your company and the
important points about my company following four questions that will open
you should know. Secondly, I would the doors for your consultative sales
like to ask you a few general questions process.
about your company. From there, we
Remember, Enthusiasm sells!
can discuss your needs and goals and
cover the items you mentioned. Do I
Helpful hints from the field
Opening Questions & 1st Call Planning
By John Matovich
Have you ever read a book on consultative talk on why a customer should consider your
selling and when you tried it you ended up company as their wireless and data solutions
getting nowhere? Consultative selling provider. This should be thought out,
techniques are very helpful in understanding logical, and to the point. It needs to be
the needs of the prospect. I find most sales clearly and confidently delivered.
professionals can deliver an effective
consultative question set once they learn Here is one of the openings I use:
the steps. Starting the conversation is the Allow me to take a moment and share with
challenge. The difficulty lies in getting the you 2 points about (Company Name), which
prospect to be willing to discuss real needs. I believe are important for you to know.
In an earlier article titled,
Develop a 90 second First, for some time now our
Build Respect with Opening
Questions, I outlined one talk on why a wireless network has either the
customer should lowest or one of the lowest
way to open a first meeting
consider your customer churn rates in the
with a prospect by asking
industry. By churn we mean the
two set up questions and company as their number of customers leaving us as
delivering a verbal or wireless and data a function of a percentage of our
written agenda. The two solutions provider. base. In short, our customers like
opening questions are the
our communications system and
setup and the verbal or
stay for a long time.
written agenda is the pivot point, which
establishes you as in control of the meeting.
It sounds something like this: The other point I want to share with you is
frankly, we are not the cheapest guys in
Thank you for sharing your expectation. town. Now I am not saying we are the most
Allow me to share an agenda. First, I would expensive. In fact, we will sharpen our
like to take 2 minutes and present to you a pencil; work very hard and you will find us
few important points about my company to be quite competitive. But we are not the
you should know. Secondly I would like to low price leader in the wireless market; we
ask you a few general questions about your are not trying to be.
company. From there we can discuss your
needs and goals and cover the items you Now let’s couple these 2 ideas together.
mentioned. Do I have your permission to How can we hold on to our customers and
move forward? not be the lowest price supplier? You can
only draw one conclusion; we are the value
I find prospects are more willing to give provider in wireless communications. We
some information if they can first receive provide true business value to the business
some information. Therefore, first on your community. We know who we are. Because
agenda is to cover some facts about your of this, we are able to focus on helping you
company. From there, I have 4 stock become more profitable and support your
questions about their organization or customers better. You see, in most cases,
department, which I have used successfully once a company has experienced true
to lead the discussion and start the prospect wireless productivity tools, they don’t look
down the path of a consultative back. They “Get It.” (Company Name) helps
conversation. move their company forward.
To briefly cover some facts about your If you look them in the eye and present your
company, you need to develop a 90 second 90 second talk with some passion, this can
be effective at building credibility. It says 3) What are the 2 best things you need to
you think things through. It says you can have happen in the next 6 months, i.e. what
take common observations and draw good are your goals?
business conclusions. And after all, isn’t 4) What are the 2 largest challenges that
that what the consultative process is all face you in the next 6 months? In other
about? words, what keeps you awake at night?
The other purpose this particular talk These questions are very easy to remember.
accomplishes is to give a foreshadow that Simply ask a positive and a negative
when it comes to beating us up for price question about both the past and the
later, we are not going to necessarily give future. I find if you limit the time frame
in. As a professional, be confident in your (ex. The last 6 months) you will gain more
offering. As the saying goes, “don’t lower usable information. Always start with a past
the price, raise the benefits.” We know the positive. People like to talk about the good
value of our product and will work hard to times. By the time you ask the second
demonstrate that value to the client via real question, they will get into the flow and you
problem solving and an ROI (return on are on your way. Ask all four if you are able.
investment) model. To quote Zig Ziglar,
“the sooner you bring up an objection, the As you uncover goals and needs, use your
easier it is to handle.” You will imagination to start planning your steps in
benefit by bringing this out on the conversation. You should
the table early in the call.
Ask a positive and a be reviewing your products or
negative question services in your mind as they
From here, you need to guide about both the past talk. Use these ideas to plan
the meeting to the next item and the future. your next steps or set of
on the agenda - Their questions to fully uncover
company’s needs. Everything three specific needs and the
up to this point in the meeting has been to cost of those needs.
establish the business relationship and to
build up your stock or credibility in their I encourage you to string these four
mind. Now it is time to start using some of questions together in a tight time frame. Do
your credibility by asking questions of the not give into the temptation to start talking
prospect to uncover their needs. about their answers yet. This is a time to
gather a broad perspective on who they are
It could sound something like this: Now and what they are facing. Once you are
that I have given you a few points about our finished, which shouldn’t take too long, you
company; with your permission, I would like simply review your notes and pick a place to
to ask you a few questions about your start drilling down for more information.
organization. Move on to the next item in the agenda -
Discussing their needs and goals. Now you
Insert your standard opening consultative are starting to sell consultatively.
selling questions here. I have four stock
leading questions I use at this point which If you are struggling with how to make this
have served me well. You do not always step flow, review the books, Getting into
need to use the full set. Two or three of your Customer’s Head by Kevin Davis or SPIN
them should bring out enough information Selling by Neil Rackham. These are
for you to start a drill down for identified foundational books for the type of selling we
needs. do. Every sales professional should read or
listen to the audio tracks at least once a
1) What are the 2 best things that have year. The human mind is the only natural
happened to your department in the last 6 resource that gets larger with use. I
months? encourage you to take responsibility for
2) What are the 2 worst things that have expanding your sales skills and read good
happened to your department in the last 6 sales books regularly.
Remember, Enthusiasm sells!
Helpful hints from the field
Addressing the Customer’s Fear
By John Matovich
Do you freely give referrals when
asked? I have asked that question to “Mr. Jones, would you feel comfortable
hundreds of sales reps and it is giving me the names of two or three
interesting to note that many of them business people like yourself that you
do not give referrals…at least not feel should be considering our
easily. products and services in their business
or department? My goal is to introduce
Why are we hesitant to give out the myself and simply place a business
names of our friends or associates? card with a brochure in their files. This
And, if we are hesitant to give them way, when the discussion of wireless
out personally, does this lead us to services like Voice or GPS Data comes
being hesitant to ask for referrals? up inside their organization, they will
have a place to turn for information
I believe at the center of this and consulting. Rest assured, I will
discussion is the most powerful treat them as honestly and respectfully
statement in all of sales, “The fear of as I have treated you. And you can
loss is greater than the hope for gain.” hold me accountable. (Pause) Do you
The person is more afraid of losing have two or three names?” (Smile,
face with their friend or business look them in the eye and wait for their
associate than they are willing to help reply.)
you be more successful. Thankfully,
human nature leads people to want to
This is a very effective approach.
help. The question becomes, “Can we
1) Clearly state in one sentence what
remove fear from their path and
thereby open the gate for referrals?”
2) Clearly state your goal for the
Here are a few suggestions…
3) Give a clear
When looking at a
assurance you will
list of all the reasons Rest assured, I will treat not damage their
why people do not them as honestly and relationship.
give referrals, the
fear of damaging a respectfully as I have 4) And most
relationship would treated you. And you can them recourse back
have to rank as a
solid No.1. In fact, I
hold me accountable. to you if you do
would rank as the No. 2 reason would
be so distant that it almost doesn’t
The key is inviting them to hold
matter. Addressing this fear up front is
you accountable. It is such a
the key to receiving referrals.
refreshing change from what people
expect to hear. It is almost too
When the time is right, I have found
tempting to pass up. They are not
this to be a very effective approach:
used to hearing a confident, well-
dressed, polished sales person who names from a long-time satisfied
takes pride in his or her profession, customer are the most valuable. But I
look them in the eye and invite will take a few names from a prospect
accountability. Confidently lower your that has seen one of my presentations
voice, speak slowly and you will be over cold dialing a phone any day.
surprised at the response. Right? Ask!
Does this work every time? No. Does One last point: the secret to a strong
this work half of the time? No. Do you referral lead chain is that it is a chain.
need it to work half the time to make Once you get the first referral, you
a handsome living in sales? No. If only build rapport with the new party and
one out of three people you ask give then ask:
you referrals, and you can get two to
three names at a time, you are on You know Mr. Smith, I am so glad Mr.
your way. Jones referred me to you. This has
been a great
Look at it this way: conversation. Would
would you rather be
“The fear of loss is you feel comfortable
given a list of 20 names greater than the hope giving me the names
in your area to dial or for gain” is also in the of two or three
one good referral? All business people like
the reps I know would mind of the sales yourself that you feel
take the referral. How professional. should be…” and you
about 50 names on a are right back into the
list? We still view the referral as process again.
superior. You and I both know the
referral is the best lead in the business
and it is free for the asking. But too It is a chain. Don’t skip a link and
often, we get out of the habit of break your own chain. All referral
asking. Please understand “The fear of chains will end at some point. But it is
loss is greater than the hope for gain” very rewarding to look back over a
is also in the mind of the sales series of five or six sales and realize
professional. I encourage you to think that they all started with one request
about your own fears and start or get for a name, which led to the next, and
back in the habit of asking for so on. After the first one, it is even
Sometimes we are afraid the mere
asking for names will damage our Remember, learn to recognize the
relationship and the party will be appropriate time, state clearly your
angry. The only time I see this request with your goal and most
happening is when we ask at the importantly offer strong accountability
wrong time. Be sensitive to their mood for your actions. Now, have fun with it,
and body language. get out there, and make a great living.
This begs the question: When is the
right time to ask for referrals? You can Remember, Enthusiasm sells!
ask for a referral as soon as you have
built good rapport with the other
party. You do not need to wait until
they have purchased multiple units or
services before asking for names.
Now, don’t get me wrong, a few
Helpful hints from the field
Door Knocking: A Lost Art?
By John Matovich
Bob: Let’s go door knocking tomorrow and Like GPS Services help your business grow
do some good face-to-face prospecting. and support your bottom line without the
John: I am not comfortable with door need to talk.
knocking. I am not very good at it. It just
doesn’t seem to work for me. I would like to set an appointment with
Bob: I used to look at door knocking that you to better understanding your goals
way also. But now I have it figured out. and to show you what we are doing in so
Let’s go together and I will show you the many other companies. Those who have
ropes. taken the time to review our capabilities
often say, “I had no idea Company Name
The gentleman who taught me door could do all that.” Would Tuesday at 2:00
knocking really was named Bob. He was be a good time for an initial
one of the great ones. A truly gracious conversation?”
professional that made a great living by
helping people see their need for his Let’s look at this approach.
product. For Bob, it all started at the #1 Smile and clearly state your company name
prospect’s door with a warm smile and an and your name as you present your business
honest comfortable approach. Today, Bob card.
is the Sales VP of his #2 Clearly state why you
large national company. I am out in the community are there. In the above
This is a skill that is well example it is “…to meet
today to meet new people new people…”
and to put a name with a #3 Select one clear
Good face-to-face face… My message is, “Co. message to deliver. I like,
prospecting starts with a “Company Name is so
Name Wireless is so much
clear understanding of much more than voice
who you are (the image more than voice services.” services.” This challenges
you need to portray) people’s assumptions
and what you are trying to accomplish. As about our services and opens up their
always, the truth is the best approach. So need for more investigation. You could
walk in and tell the truth. Clearly state the easily use any new technology promotion
company you are with, who you are, why as your message. The key here is to only
you are there and ask for an appointment. use one. Keep it short.
It sounds something like this: #4 Always ask for a specific time in the
future for an appointment. In doing this
“Hello, I am with Company name, my people instantly know you are not looking
name is John Matovich. I am out in the for their time right now. This lowers the
community today to meet new people and pressure and sends the clear message
to put a name with a face. I find it so that this is important enough for you to
much more comfortable than meeting new take a second trip to see them. If they are
people on the phone. Don’t you agree? I able to meet with you on the spot, they
have one clear message to deliver to you; will say so by asking you if you have the
Company Name is so much more than time. Of course the answer is always yes.
voice services. We have many products #5 Deliver a one sentence commercial
and applications which help businesses covering what others have experienced.
just like yours. Only a few of our products You must use enthusiasm here! Be
are voice related. All of our other products contagious with your professional
which you can drive to easily. This will
excitement about what they are going to give you a concentrated time to focus and
learn by meeting with you. practice your approach. Anything worth
doing is worth doing wrong a few times. I
Remember, the purpose of the drop by is encourage you to stick with the outline
to set an appointment. The purpose of the and make the words your own.
appointment is to learn their goals, etc.
and to present our solutions. A good rule Carry a supply of business cards and a
of thumb is to get out of the lobby before note pad, or take notes on your
you start talking in-depth about their Blackberry. Do not walk in with a brief
needs or our solutions. If they ask you case or large bundle of information.
about our capabilities, give a Remember, you are there to
short general answer and follow The hardest meet new people and set an
up with, “It sounds like you may appointment for a return visit.
have a need in this area, would door to open is Play the part.
Tuesday at 2:00 be a good time your car door.
to have an initial conversation?” At the end of 40 doors, you
Keep driving for the should have notes on most of
appointment. the doors you visited. You should know a
contact name, or at least have a better
Talk to whomever may greet you at the understanding of what that company is all
door using the same approach. If they are about. If all goes right you should have
not the correct person, they will quickly one or two set appointments. If you spend
gain an understanding of what you are 2 hours knocking on doors, you will create
trying to accomplish and point you in the around 1 to 2 hours of deskwork following
right direction. Example: Oh, you need to up on the leads. Send thank you notes to
speak with Linda, our Operations the people you meet no matter how brief
Manager. If she is not available, try to the conversation. When you set
leave the same message on her voice mail appointments, send written confirmation
from a lobby phone or step outside and with a “forward looking” message.
leave the same message from your cell
phone. Stick with your message. On face value, the short notes and bits of
information you gather during your walk
Caution, if you are sent to “the cell phone” around will look insignificant. To the
person, thank the receptionist for the focused professional, these are the small
name (write it down for your records) and but strong beginnings of new business
state, “I am looking for the person in relationships. It cannot be over stated: If
charge of setting operation and business you fail to do the follow up work, your
processes, would that be him / her as time in the field is completely wasted.
well?” You need to get to a higher level Good follow up skills are a must to
than the person commonly in charge of successful door knocking.
the bills or phone programming. Too often
they are in purchasing, which is the right The hardest door to open is your car door.
place when someone wants to place an Once you get started and experience
order. But purchasing is the wrong place success, creating new business contacts
to introduce new ideas for consideration. can be quite enjoyable. Have fun with it!
Prospects will sense you enjoy your work
Choose a location with 40+ doors for you and will be more inclined to accept an
to walk into or if you are in major appointment.
accounts etc., make a list of 20 locations,
Remember, Enthusiasm sells!